Cricket games can change on a moment of inspiration. When Nellai Royal Kings seemed back in the hunt during the chase, Amit Sathvik snuffed out the hopes with a smart pick-up and a direct hit to catch Sanjay Yadav short.
Ruby Trichy Warriors eventually won by a whopping 74 runs. Under a drizzle, Nellai fizzled out.
It was Sathvik’s night all right in this TNPL game against Ruby Trichy Warriors at Chepauk on Wednesday. The opener had held centre stage earlier with some clinical striking of the ball with a 52-ball 71.
Then the Ruby seamers made serious inroads. A target of 152 appeared miles away when Nellai Royal Kings was reduced to 12 for five.
Seamer Sunil Sam, his bowling was marked by rhythm and movement, and the nippy Saravan Kumar, who cramped the batsman for room, shared four batsmen between them.
B. Aparajith, slashing Sam to third man, being the prized scalp. Pradosh Ranjan Paul was a senseless run-out victim.
Seasoned campaigner B. Indrajith and Yadav provided a glimmer of hope for Nellai, with the former catching the eye with nifty footwork.
Just as the game was beginning to change its hue, the sharp Sathvik ended Yadav’s (28) innings. And when Indrajith was leg-before to M. Mathivannan for 32, it was all over.
The left-arm spinner cleaned up the tail – Mathivannan grabbed three wickets in the over – to end the contest.
Earlier, opener Sathvik lent Ruby momentum and thrust.
The quickness with which he got into position and the manner he transferred his body weight to achieve balance underlined the young right-hander’s innings. He stepped down to pacemen and swatted them over wide long for the maximum, and also pierced the off-side field with strokes of authority and timing.
The left-handed Adithya Ganesh (33), compact and assured, rotated the strike to provide the in-form Sathvik maximum strike and Antony Dhas (35 not out off 20 balls) delivered a few typically hefty blows in the end overs.
Under pressure, the Nellai fielders put down a couple of catches in the closing stages. Then the Ruby pacemen joined the party.
Ruby Trichy Warriors 151 for five in 20 overs (Sathvik 71, Dhas 35 n.o., Ganesh 33, Sharun Kumar two for 39) beat Nellai Royal Kings 77 in 13.4 overs (Indrajith 32, Sanjay Yadav 28, Sunil Sam two for eight, Saravan Kumar two for five, Mathivannan three for zero).
Points: Ruby 2; Nellai 0.